Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a rare opinion article for the Wall Street Journal in which he focuses on how the pandemic over the last year has “forced each of us to re-examine and to change how we live, work and relate to one another.” The Apple CEO calls for a “durable and hopeful future for all.”
Cook writes that the COVID-19 pandemic should have affected everyone equally, but that the opposite has actually turned out to be true:
In simple theory, a disease should affect all of us equally. But in plain fact, the opposite is true. We have all seen, in real time, how structural discrimination and obstacles to opportunity do their work in a crisis. In our communities, every burden — from rates of infection and care outcomes, to economic adversity, to the challenges of virtual learning when schools are closed — falls heaviest on those for whom true equity has always been farthest from reach.
These challenges will not simply go away once the pandemic recedes, Cook explains.
When the pandemic recedes, we can’t simply assume that healing follows. It falls on all of us — individuals and communities, companies and governments — to ensure that what’s ahead is not just the end of a disease but a durable and hopeful future for all who sacrificed and endured during this unprecedented time.
The Apple CEO also explains that one key area of focus should be on education, which can serve as “a great equalizer.” This is something Apple focuses heavily on, Cook writes, by asking itself how it can help.
An essential place to focus this work is on education, in all its forms. Education is a great equalizer, but it cannot do its work without tools and without a home. Our approach at Apple has been to ask, “How can we help?” That question has led us to build powerful learning tools and share them freely with tens of thousands of teachers, educators and parents.
Cook says that Apple has undertaken a variety of new projects over the last year through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. As announced in January, this includes investments such as the Propel Center in Atlanta, an Apple Developer Academy in downtime Detroit, $35 million investments in minority-owned startups, and more.
Despite the work ahead, Cook says that he’s hopeful change is on the way:
The old saying goes that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is today. If this pandemic has taught us anything, I hope it’s that none of us can use injustice’s long history as an excuse not to act. Our lives on this planet are precious and fleeting, and fate has a way of reminding us that society is only as strong as those who, for too long, have gone overlooked and undervalued.
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